The use of spam filters is commonplace today as companies do their best to keep their mailboxes clean of junk mail. For many, the battle has been won and the few spam emails that escape the filters are no longer of much concern.
Unfortunately, spammers are technically savvy individuals who have the means, backup and resources to stay ahead of the good guys. Over the past two years, spammers and spam filter developers have been equally matched, but seeing their inability to beat the technology all the time, spammers have targeted the weakest link in the chain: human nature.
Humans are oftentimes gullible and inquisitive, and spammers are taking full advantage. Instead of emails pushing products, which are caught by spam filters, these cutthroats are using near-genuine emails to usurp information and play on the individual's fear of anything with a legal association.
Dealing with spam requires a three-pronged approach. The first two are obvious: install anti-spam and anti-phishing software, as well as anti-virus engines to check all web downloads, including viruses on websites that spam emails point to.
The third step is education.
End-users need to be told (and regularly reminded) not to open any emails that look suspicious. Even if they appear genuine, federal agencies and official bodies never use email to notify people of pending legal action, but instead put an official letter in the mail.
On a wider scale, companies, banks and online retailers never ask their clients for confidential data via email, no matter what the email says. If the email looks authentic, but raises concern, people should check with their bank or the company sending the email to verify that it is legitimate.
And never click on links in suspicious emails. If it's too good to be true, it's usually fake.
These tips are easy to follow and they come free. But ask yourself: are the employees in your company listening?